Florida’s beleaguered citrus growers got a slight bump Thursday in their production forecast as the 2020-2021 season approaches its end. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday raised the projected output from Florida growers to be enough oranges to fill 52.7 million 90-pound boxes.
The new outlook for the season, with one month to go, was up from a May forecast of 51.7 million 90-pound boxes, the standard industry measurement.
But while the new forecast inched up, it continues to reflect troubles in the industry, which two decades ago filled more than 200 million boxes a year. The 2020-2021 forecast amount is nearly 22 percent lower than the yield of 67.4 million boxes during the 2019-2020 season and almost 27 percent below the 71.85 million boxes in the 2018-2019 season. Most of the state’s oranges are processed into orange juice.
Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Shannon Shepp focused Thursday on increased state funding for the industry, with a total of $17 mln going to marketing in the fiscal year beginning July 1.
After recent forecasts showed Florida falling behind California in orange production, the new forecast put Florida back as the country’s top orange producer. The forecast for California this season remained at 52 million boxes.